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About Floridiana

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  1. Island Thyme, Great blog! And great photos! We were indeed on the same cruise without ever taking the same tour. On Mystery Island's main island we took a very similar tour. I did not even know there was a second one by a different villager. Excellent translation for the mystery sign. I thought it meant that you were not allowed to let your cow into the garden, but your interpretation sounds much more likely. Island Thyme made the pretty wool ball for my handicraft bag. Thank you very much. I do not remember if I ever said thank you. If not, I apologize.
  2. The MS Amera has Venice on her itineraries. She also has a 125 day world cruise scheduled. Did the Prinsendam do world cruises?
  3. I think you should start with the itinerary and then compare prices.
  4. You answered my question here, excellent. In what way is the stretch upriver from Moscow different from the stretch downriver? How comfortable are the cabins on a ship geared to a Russian clientele? I am thinking of some of the Chinese ships on the Yangtze that are sold to Chinese only. We were on one with about 40 westerners from 3 different travel agencies (Swiss, British, American), all others were mainland Chinese. Cabins had decent western standard, everything else was geared to the many Chinese passengers. One of our American co-patriots had been on a Russian river ship and loved it, but he spoke Russian. The ship, however, he said was not very comfortable.
  5. Where did you book those? I love being on a river and watch the landscape float by. I don't mind when the ship stops just for a few hours at a small town. It looks like many contributors here see it as a waste of time and would prefer a more extensive visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
  6. That's exactly what I meant. That's what we had on our Mekong River cruise. Hotels at both ends. Our next 3 trips are ocean cruises, but I would look at a Russian river cruise if it were organized like that.
  7. Very important! We were behind an Indian family who got yelled at because they brought an undeclared can of food. The officer said it was HIS decision to declare something admissible or not.
  8. Winter is the rainy season in the Med.
  9. Officers and sailors do not need to speak German on a German ship. The hotel department speaks German. - more or less.
  10. Great write-up. We were on the same itinerary on the Europa 2. I loved it, but I think they should eliminate the stop at Lizard Island. No swimming because of stingers when our ship was there. It is a hot pile of rocks and sand.
  11. The question was asked on a luxury ship that travels around the world. The answer was that the ship gives recyclables to local companies and hopes they will recycle as they promise to do.
  12. A Grand Voyage is like a world cruise but shorter. Ours was 82 days Los Angeles - Los Angeles around the Pacific Rim. You could buy segments or do the entire cruise with incentives similar to a world cruise. The food was good (They had upped the food budget). The desserts were lacking which means that I did not gain weight. Sushi, salad bowl, Asian soup bowl freshly prepared in the buffet in addition to American standards. They had berries for breakfast! The destination experts were excellent as was the excursion staff. It was 3 steps up from our previous b2b on the MS Veendam. We did an Azamara cruise around Japan, booked it for the itinerary a few months later. The food was really good, certainly more varied and sophisticated than on HAL. The excursion staff was inexperienced; the expert was a dud with 3 basic factual errors in the first 30 minutes of his first talk on Japan. I think this can happen on any line, but we often don't know the destination well enough to notice. We were looking at Oceania's world cruise. It's a bit too long for us and I don't like the cramped bathrooms of the standard balcony cabins of the R ships. As to passengers, I found most Oceania passengers easy going, but I also met extremely demanding people.
  13. I think that Oceania is a fine cruise line. We did 2 month long cruises with them but recently couldn't find an itinerary we liked. We are itinerary driven, so we did one of the Grand Voyages on the MS Amsterdam. It turned out to be one of our best cruises. (been on ~ 12 different lines including Oceania) Great crew, varied daytime programs, experienced excursion staff and cruise director team. We had been unhappy with our long HAL cruise before, but now they are back in the running. If you expect more from HAL, take a Grand Voyage. The food was better on our Oceania cruises and the Riviera is much more tastefully decorated. Crew friendliness and efficiency: even.
  14. I think Vikings does one. The Viking ship that was recently in trouble off the coast of Norway had been on a Northern Lights cruise.
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